Forty Years On the Firing Line
In the year 1900, this little group of Christians that had been meeting in our home learned of a young man by the name of JJ Castleberry who had just finished school at Lexington, Kentucky, and had graduated from the School of the Bible under JW McGarvey. This young man was holding meetings for various churches in Lauderdale County (Alabama).
The brethren of East Florence secured his services for a meeting; they obtained seats somewhere; they hauled sawdust and covered the ground; they whitewashed the various posts and prepared this big shed for a meeting. Brother Will Freeman led the singing. Castleberry proved to be a very stirring and fervent young preacher and much interest was stirred in that community. During this meeting two hundred and nine persons were baptized and I was one of that number.
The denominations fought Castleberry and his meeting; they challenged him for a debate; they threatened to run him out of the City; and they filled his question box with not only questions but with insults and insinuations and engaged in every ugly thing they could do to destroy his influence and stop the gospel from being preached. This, of course, thoroughly committed me to the side of right and truth...
This meeting continued for more than a month and that town was stirred as I have never seen a town stirred since with religious controversy. Castleberry called me into the pulpit and asked me to quote Scripture for the audience... I quoted scripture and gave chapter and verse. This had launched me, and my work began in defending the truth and exposing error. If, therefore, my life has been given to religious controversy, it need be no matter of surprise to anyone who knows the story.